A very short but interesting e-mail arrived in the inbox on 2 January:-

I heard Rip It Up in a Starbucks of all places this weekend and now they just played it on KCRW. What the what? I live in California. no one here has EVER heard of Orange Juice. I mean it’s cool and all, but I’m scratching my head.

Eric Freeman

I’ve absolutely no idea why Edwyn & co’s biggest hit single has all of a sudden gotten airtime on the west coast of the USA….my  stab in the dark is perhaps that it has somehow made its way on the soundtrack of some movie or other, but as someone who hasn’t darkened a cinema in more than six years (the last time being at the Toronto International Film Festival premiere of Control) I’m probably waaaay out with that guess.  Any thoughts dear readers?

Anyway, Eric’s e-mail got me thinking it was time the song appeared on T(n)VV:-

mp3 : Orange Juice – Rip It Up

Rip It Up was released as a single in the UK in February 1983 and a few weeks it reached #8 in the charts.  It was made available as a standard 7″ single, as part of a double-pack (plus poster) on 7″ and as a 12″ single. The sleeve, which seemingly depicts a  US P-40 Warhawk fighter plane, decorated with eyes and teeth and partially submerged, tail first, in the sea, was drawn by Edwyn Collins.

Here’s the other tracks from the double pack:-

mp3 : Orange Juice – Snake Charmer
mp3 : Orange Juice – Love Sick (live)
mp3 : Orange Juice – A Sad Lament

Snake Charmer is a Malcolm Ross composition. Love Sick is a live studio recording of an old Postcard single while the 12″ version of A Sad Lament would later be included on the Texas Fever LP.

The 12″ version of Rip It Up is only marginally longer (about 10 seconds) than the 7″, with the longest version being reserved for the LP version which extends out to some 90 seconds beyond the 7″:-

mp3 : Orange Juice – Rip It Up (LP Version)

If you listen closely, especially on the LP version, you will hear the wonderful voice of Paul Quinn on backing vocals. It’s a pity that he wasn’t asked to appear with the band on Top of The Pops on either of the two occasions they appeared performing the song, although they did smuggle Jim Thirwell onto the show to play saxophone….

The other great thing about Rip It Up is the nod it gives to Boredom by Buzzcocks.  Not only does Edwyn utilise some of the lyrics and proclaims it be his favourite song but there’s also a tribute to the infamous two-note guitar solo.  Have a listen to see what I mean:-

mp3 : Buzzcocks – Boredom



  1. Exiled as I am in Southern California, the fact that any US radio station is playing anything apart from regurgitated top 40 pap, yawn-inducing “adult orientated (c)rock” or alternative music so safe it makes UK commercial radio sound cutting edge is indeed a reason to rejoice. However KCRW is actually a pretty eclectic radio station as regular listeners would probably agree (you can follow online at – I would recommend eclectic24…)

  2. Wow. I still have not heard Orange Juice… yet! I own every Edwyn Collins solo album up to “Dr. Syntax,” but Orange Juice remain a mystery to me. This is a deeply sad thing. I need to get that “Coals To Newcastle” boxed set that came out a few years ago, but it’s going to cost me some. So much music… so little money.

  3. I do see on Amazon that the Orange Juice catalog is being re-issued in America on Domino so maybe they sent out some promos and are working that Orange Juice action.

  4. ppm…..drop me an e-mail and I will try and help you out with a few CDs.

    Incidentally, it’s my proud claim to fame that I got name-checked in the list of thank-yous within ‘Coals To Newcastle’

  5. I heard ‘Damaged Goods’ by Gang of Four in a J. Crew store in Boston last year. That was really odd.

  6. JC,
    When you took your lengthy break from the blog in July 2012 I heard “Three Cheers for Our Side” on KEXP here in Seattle. It was (and still remains) the only time I have ever heard OJ on the radio. I took it as a sign. I knew you would be back and everything would be alright.

  7. I think postpunkmonk may be onto something. I live in Northern Cali (near Sacramento) and also heard Rip It Up recently on the radio, the first time ever.

  8. Rip It Up is an all timer for me! It exists on dozens of mixtapes I made for myself and those I felt needed to be in the know back in the heady early 80’s. One song, which some might find a bit sacreligious, that I used to program right before or after Rip It Up was Genius of Love by Tom Tom Club. It was a vibe thing…

  9. This is Eric the source of the original email and yes ianbalentine, I’m pretty sure postpunkmonk nailed it. That box set has got to be the thing. Domino probably sent copies to all the college (and “eclectic”) stations. The success of “Girl Like You” probably helped programmers decide it was safe to give OJ some air time.

  10. Heard Where’s Me Jumper? by Sultans of Ping FC in the Jameson’s Whiskey Distillery shop on my last trip to Dublin, which was similarly head-scratching.

  11. @Pip: the Sultan’s appear to be having a moment too, inspired I’m sure by the annual TVV Christmas post. They are featured in the opening credits of Moone Boy, which came to the US via Hulu last year. That series is full of great music choices

  12. Try sequencing Bowie’s Sound and Vision after or before Rip It Up…a brother from another mother, so to speak.

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